Widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain by major corporate players took a giant leap forward recently after both Amazon and Starbucks hinted at incorporating both technologies into their business models.
In late February, a poll suggested that most Amazon customers would use a cryptocurrency created by the online retail giant.
Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz also revealed that blockchain is on its radar, specifically for an integrated app which would allow for cashless payments.
Amazon customers say ‘yes’ to possibility of cryptocurrency
Following on from rumours that Amazon is interested in opening brick-and-mortar pharmacies, which would undoubtedly shake up the healthcare industry, LendEDU asked 1,000 recent consumers about other sectors the retailer could potentially explore.
Just a little over half of the respondents (51.7 per cent) said they would be interested in purchasing products with an Amazon cryptocurrency. The figure is even higher among Amazon Prime subscribers (58.27 per cent).
Even the ’no’ camp (21.9 per cent) was overshadowed by ‘unsure’ respondents (26.4 per cent), perhaps through lack of crypto knowledge.
Either way, there is definitely scope and potential for Amazon to launch its own cryptocurrency, especially if it attracts more customers and makes purchasing more streamlined.
Starbucks hints at blockchain app
In an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz dropped another hint that the coffee shop would accept virtual currency in the near future.
“I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of,” he said.
This follows on from comments at Starbucks’ January earnings call, where Schultz warned bitcoin would not be the currency of the future. Instead, he predicted success for blockchain-based currencies launched or legitimised by established companies.
“This is not about Bitcoin, but I do believe that given the framework and the platform that we have on our digital mobile app that we could potentially be one of the first companies to have a proprietary digital currency integrated into our application,” he added.
Schultz seems to suggest that Starbucks’ future strategy isn’t primarily concerned with the in-store experience; rather how it can enhance every aspect of the customer’s journey. This could allow for ordering on the app and paying with cryptocurrency before picking up your order.
“The real question in any brick-and-mortar retailer these days is how do you become as relevant outside of your stores as you have inside?” he said. “If you look at what we’ve accomplished to date and what we’re now talking about, the future of Starbucks domestically and around the world is our best days are in front of us.”
What could Amazon and Starbucks’ interest in crypto mean?
As two of the biggest players in their respective industries, it is perhaps no surprise that Amazon and Starbucks are exploring technologies that could make customer experiences and interactions easier.
They appear to have investor backing too. Both companies ended last Friday’s trading session in the green, with Amazon up 0.46 per cent and Starbucks up 1.35 per cent.